The Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi, Blantyre Branch
Funding support: Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust, membership subscriptions
Number of staff: 1
Number of visitors per year: c3000 to the resource centre.
Overall aims of the centre
Library and Resource Centre on environmental issues
Provide a reading/studying room where students can do individual study
Host group visits from local schools to have talks and watch DVDs
Description of the centre
Our centre is in an urban area and has limited external space.
Around 1000 students use the library a year and group visits bring around 1800 young people.
Main CEPA work areas
We produce a monthly e-newsletter for branch ordinary and corporate members. We hold monthly public talks in Blantyre. We organise regular trips to protected areas for ordinary members and for wildlife clubs (131 club trips in 2011). We produce a termly newsletter for our wildlife clubs. With MEET funding we produced a set of 5 posters on Malawi’s wildlife
We show wildlife DVDs (unfortunately only 2 are Malawian) at our resource centre to visiting groups. We take part in partner campaigns – such as ‘clean up the River Mudi’ litter collection
Top three successes
1. Conservation of Michiru Mountain Nature Sanctuary,Blantyre.
Dominated by Brachystegia woodland, it covers approximately 18 square kilometres and reaches 1470m at the summit. The Sanctuary is based in the Mikwawa valley and contains six nature walking trails of varying distances, Michiru Peak, a number of view points, hyaena caves, a picnic site, pools and an extensive Information Centre.
WESM Blantyre carries out trail maintenance, information centre maintenance, funds a snare bounty for poachers and illegal tree fellers, as well as hosting regular EE walks.
Our involvement means this is the only forest left in Blantyre.
2. Blantyre WESM has carried out a scientific game count at Lengwe National Park for 47 years.
3. We built the first students hostel in Malawi, within Lengwe National Park, so groups of schoolchildren and students could visit easily and take part in environmental education. Around 5000 young people stay in the hostel each year.
Top three challenges
Malawi is one of the poorest nations in Africa so raising funds internally is a big struggle. We also find that international donors/aid is focused on people and health eg malaria, HIV/AIDs, economic growth. There are few opportunities to bid for funding for environmental education and conservation work.
Since the early 1990s poaching has been rife in Malawi. Virtually all national parks and protected areas have minimal mammal stock. There is little wildlife outside the parks. Now Malawi is facing a crisis over its forests. Because of the population density and the fact that wood is used by 90% as fuel, the whole country is deforested and protected forests are under intense threat.
3 Like many countries, getting Malawians to be interested in conservation and wildlife is difficult. We have active Malawian members but they are a minority and they feel as frustrated as conservationists across the planet.
Creating signage; site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails
Running a visitor centre;
Working with disabled people; Engaging hard-to-reach groups; Engaging young people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials
Running effective administration; Fund-raising; Project planning.
Paul Taylor MBE, Chairman,
PO Box 1429 Blantyre
00265 1 669 249
00265 995 209848
Voluntary branch manager
PB 211 Blantyre
00 265 99 520 6048
Website address: www.wildlifemalawi.org